Exercise Timing Boosts Health: New Study Reveals

New study finds that optimal exercise timing can significantly improve blood sugar levels in overweight and obese adults. Discover the best time to exercise.

Exercise Timing

Exercise Timing Key to Better Blood Sugar Control


Exercise is a crucial aspect of maintaining good health. However, recent research suggests that the timing of your exercise routine can significantly impact its benefits, especially for managing blood sugar levels in overweight and obese adults. This article delves into the findings of a groundbreaking study conducted by the University of Granada in Spain, which reveals the optimal time for physical activity to manage glucose levels effectively.

Key Findings

The study, published in the journal Obesity, highlights that engaging in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity later in the day is associated with more stable blood sugar levels over a 24-hour period. This finding is particularly important for individuals with obesity, who often face numerous health issues, including insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

Study Participants and Methods

The researchers utilized data from the EXTREME trial, observing 186 adults with an average age of 46.8 years and an average body mass index (BMI) of 32.9, categorized as obese. Participants wore devices to track their physical activity and continuous glucose monitors for 14 days.

The participants were grouped based on the timing of their physical activity:

  • Inactive: No moderate-to-vigorous physical activity
  • Morning: At least 50% of activity between 06:00 and 12:00
  • Afternoon: At least 50% of activity between 12:00 and 18:00
  • Evening: At least 50% of activity between 18:00 and 00:00
  • Mixed: Activity not concentrated in any specific time period

On average, participants engaged in 24 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity daily. The study confirmed that such activity stabilizes glucose metabolism. Notably, the 24-hour average glucose levels were lower on active days compared to inactive days.

Evening Exercise Shows Promising Results

The key finding of the study was that evening physical activity was linked to the most significant reduction in blood sugar levels. Participants who exercised in the evening had a 1.28 mg/dL lower average glucose reading compared to inactive participants. In contrast, those active in the morning or throughout the day did not show statistically significant differences. Afternoon exercisers saw a reduction of 0.98 mg/dL.

Quotes from the Researchers

“The present study shows that the timing of lifestyle moderate-to-vigorous physical activity is significant and that accumulating most moderate-to-vigorous physical activity during the evening is associated with lower glucose levels in adults with overweight/obesity and metabolic impairments,” the authors noted.

This association was even more pronounced in participants with impaired glucose regulation and was consistent across both men and women.

Practical Implications

Understanding the optimal timing for exercise can help individuals with obesity and diabetes better manage their blood sugar levels. This knowledge is especially useful for designing personalized exercise programs that maximize health benefits.

Benefits of Evening Exercise

  • More Stable Blood Sugar Levels: Engaging in physical activity in the evening leads to more stable glucose levels over a 24-hour period.
  • Improved Insulin Sensitivity: Regular evening exercise can improve insulin sensitivity, reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Better Sleep Quality: Evening workouts can also improve sleep quality, which is crucial for overall health.

Tips for Incorporating Evening Exercise

  1. Plan Your Day: Allocate time for evening workouts by scheduling them in your calendar.
  2. Start Small: Begin with short sessions and gradually increase the duration and intensity.
  3. Choose Enjoyable Activities: Select activities that you enjoy to make the routine sustainable.
  4. Stay Consistent: Consistency is key to reaping the benefits of evening exercise.

Key Takeaways

  • The timing of exercise is crucial for managing blood sugar levels.
  • Evening exercise is particularly effective for reducing blood sugar levels in overweight and obese adults.
  • Consistent evening workouts can improve insulin sensitivity and overall health.


1. Why is evening exercise more effective for blood sugar management?

Evening exercise is linked to more stable glucose levels because it aligns with the body’s natural circadian rhythms, which can enhance glucose metabolism.

2. How much exercise is needed to see benefits?

Engaging in at least 24 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity daily can lead to significant improvements in blood sugar levels.

3. Can morning or afternoon exercise still be beneficial?

While evening exercise shows the most significant benefits, physical activity at any time of day can contribute to overall health and well-being.

4. What types of activities are considered moderate-to-vigorous?

Activities such as brisk walking, jogging, cycling, and swimming are examples of moderate-to-vigorous physical activities.

5. How can I stay motivated to exercise in the evening?

Setting clear goals, finding a workout buddy, and choosing enjoyable activities can help maintain motivation for evening exercise.


The timing of exercise plays a critical role in managing blood sugar levels, especially for individuals with obesity. Evening exercise, in particular, has been shown to provide significant benefits. By understanding and implementing the optimal timing for physical activity, individuals can better manage their health and improve their quality of life.

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